TORONTO (Reuters) – The Abu Dhabi Film Commission on Sunday unveiled several media industry leaders who will be speaking at its upcoming Circle Conference, which is aimed at boosting the emirate's media industry.
Speakers for the gathering, which runs from October 9-11 in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, include producer Walter Parkes and CBS television executive Nancy Tellem.
The conference is held in conjunction with the Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF), which is in its third year in 2009.
At a news conference at the Toronto International Film Festival, organizers for the Circle Conference unveiled a lineup of speakers to talk about topics including global film funding, developing stories with broad international appeal, women in film and TV, and regional film and TV production.
Abu Dhabi wants to become a center of media production, and the conference is part of a long-term plan aimed at stimulating industry growth, said Bassem Kudsi, manager of special projects for the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.
Parkes is an Oscar-nominated producer of films such as "Awakenings" and "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," and Tellem is president of CBS Television Studios Entertainment Group for CBS Corp.
Other industry veterans to speak include film producer Barbara De Fina ("Cape Fear"); Sanford Panitch, president of News Corp's Fox International Productions and producer Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah, a member of Kuwait's ruling family.
The film commission also unveiled nominees for its Shasha grant for screenwriting. They are Haifaa Al Mansour with the story "Wajda", Annemarie Jacir with "When I Saw You", Engi Wassef and "The Beautiful Game", Rezah Abi Rafeh with "Zahra", and Nadeem Thabet for "A Lebanese Story."
The winner will get a $100,000 production grant and film deal with Imagenation Abu Dhabi.